Hi y'all,

I wanted to start off my wedding series blog posts with how I found my dream wedding dress within the budget I set for myself..... well, sort of. 

First, let me give some background. My husband, Mike, and I got engaged in August 2013. Up until then, I really hadn't thought much about weddings, dresses, etc. So I didn't have a "dream" dress in mind when we got engaged. I know, I'm weird. Most girls dream about their big day and I guess I just never put much thought into it. Heck, my plan before meeting Mike was to be a single mother of an adopted child.... but I digress. When we got engaged, we knew we didn't want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on our wedding. We have specific financial goals and didn't want to burden ourselves or our family with paying more than necessary. So my wedding story is that of a budget wedding with some DIY aspects. Our wedding was simple, low key and shared with the closest people in our lives. We wouldn't have it any other way :)

I knew for a fact that I didn't want to spend a ton of money on a wedding dress. This was just my preference, I couldn't stomach spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on a dress I'd wear once. I made up for it by getting myself some nude Louboutins that I knew I'd wear many more times, so I guess it sort of evens out. I set a budget for myself.... I wanted to find a dress for no more than $200. I know, I'm cray. But I have found that if I set my mind to something, some way or another I make it happen :)

I started looking over Pinterest, trying to get inspiration. I needed something to take my breath away and give me heart palpitations. Over my search, I stumbled across this image that gave me the exact reaction I was looking for. It's a dress by Tara Keeley which I think is from the Fall 2012 line. The dress is just so me, the peplum, lace and bow.... it was simple but elegant, exactly what I was looking for.

I knew I wouldn't be able to afford this dress. After tons of research, I couldn't find a cheaper alternative already made so I decided to visit a seamstress and get it made. She quoted me for $400 for her labor and I still would need to buy fabric. I was pretty bummed out and I hadn't used the lady before so was nervous as well. Later that same day, my maid of honor and I went to a bridal shop in the DFW area called Lang's Bridal. Our purpose: to find bridal party dresses. 

When we first walked into the bridal shop, I saw this dress hanging on the rack. It was the basic design of my dream dress, just needed some good alterations and it would be my ideal dress! I was so happy when I found it! And since it was originally a bridesmaids dress, it only cost about $190.... right in my budget :) The dress is by Mori Lee in style 685. I'm holding the dress back since it was huge on me. Despite the oversized fit, tied belt and figure swamping peplum, I could see my dress coming to life.

Then the day came when my dress arrived. Can't you tell I'm super excited with my cheesy face? :) My entire bridal party bought their dresses from Lang's Bridal as well. The ladies were super friendly and sweet. The owner especially is a sweet lady. I would highly recommend checking them out if you're in the DFW area. They have tons of bridal party and wedding dresses.

I was recommended by a friend to use a sweet lady named Becky Fowler to alter my dress. For anyone in the DFW area, she is a retired nurse who now exclusively alters wedding and bridal party dresses, I would highly recommend her! She is the sweetest lady and all the alterations (hemming, taking in at the hip/thigh, adding a bustle, shortening the peplum and fixing my bow) amounted to $160 which I'm told is a STEAL. This is why I say I "sort of" stayed within my budget but less than $400 is amazing in itself. I couldn't be happier with the results! It was perfect! I had thought about maybe making the dress a little more slim in the thigh to knee area but glad I didn't, I was having difficult getting low as it was :)

I just wanted to share my story, in case anyone else out there is planning a wedding on a limited budget. If you're like me, try looking outside the box than what you see at bridal shows or other people you know. I thought I would have to resort to buying a dress of lower quality fabrics or ordering something online from those discount dress sites. I am so happy with how my dress turned out and that I'm not out more money than necessary. For me, this was a cost I could keep low because I personally don't put too much value on a dress I'll wear once in my life but not everyone will have the same view. I just hope I could share how I did it, so if you're like me, you'll find something to make you happy and not break the bank :)

More wedding posts to come, including my bridal shower, DIYs, etc. Have a great weekend!

With love,